Vampire Coast are a really easy faction, you can play like a Horde with your Shipbuilding Lords sailing around the ocean sacking and establishing pirate coves in settlements while recruiting units on top of being able to Raise Dead like the Vampire Counts; or you can occupy settlements and build an empire just like most other factions; or do a bit of both. They can be a really quick, fun and focused campaign or a cover the world in undeath marathon, up to you.
How To Win
I beat Luthor Harkon’s campaign on Very Hard soon after the Vampire Coast DLC was released. Today, the day this guide is being originally posted, is the day I beat Noctilus’ campaign on Legendary. Here are some key things I want you to know:
Business Casual Sauron created an excellent 3-part guide here titled “Count Noctilus Skill Guide for Necrofex Colossus Armies (Legendary Difficulty Approved)”. Go read it for a lot of useful tips, like using a Gunnery Wight to resupply your Queen Bess.
If you want to win a Legendary Campaign easily, play as Noctilus. Galleon’s Graveyard is a super-fortress that you will really have to “defecate the bed” to lose. Research the Tech that gives 10% Physical Resistance to Necrofex Colossus, and max the Red Line skill that gives 10% Physical Resistance and +8 Melee Defense to Necrofex. Get Noctilus on his Necrofex and give him 19 Necrofex and you can practically roll your face over your keyboard to win.
To win, you must go beat an enemy fleet to get the Star-Harpoon, then gain enough Infamy to spawn 3 enemy fleets that each possess a Sea Shanty that will magically imbue the harpoon so that it can kill Amanar. I “think” the 1st Sea Shanty Admiral spawns at 8,000 Infamy, 2nd at 14,000, and 3rd at 24,000 (the max); but see for yourself as you can hover your mouse over the top middle area of the screen that shows your Infamy Ranking; the Admirals with a green icon next to them are the Sea Shanty Admirals.
Be prepared for these spawns, as once a Sea Shanty Admiral spawns, he will head to Galleon’s Graveyard to attack it.
Once you reach 24,000 Infamy and get the 3rd and Final Sea Shanty, then you can fight the final battle, which will be against A LOT of Dark Elves with some Vampire Coast units mixed in. You definitely want to fight this battle with a Doomstack (19 Necrofex Colossus is good). Win the battle and you win the campaign.
You can play the Vampire Coast like a horde, going around sacking and then establishing pirate coves in every port settlement (you can Sack then Establish Pirate Cove on the SAME TURN). Or you can play them like a normal faction, conquering and building up settlements until you have an empire. Or you can mix both, conquering 1 continent while sacking and pirate coving the coasts of the other continents.
Once you establish a pirate cove, you then have 4 building options. Ignore the Vampiric Corruption one, I’ve never used it, the other 3 options are far more needed. If you want to recruit Lords at higher levels, or if you want to play with LOTS of Mourngul Haunter heroes, you want to build the +1 Lord Rank/+1 Hero capacity coves. You only want to build the 50% income cove in the best Major Settlements like Lothern, Naggarond, Marienburg, Altdorf, etc, basically only in cities that make 2,000 gold or more and are well-defended so they do not get constantly sacked or razed. Everywhere else, build the +200 gold per turn and +3% research cove building.
I’m gonna put this here for future reference, Vampire Admirals are Lords, and Vampire Captains are Heroes.
Sea Shanty Admirals will beeline to Galleon’s Graveyard, while your defenses will probably be good enough to win, I personally would not risk it, and I would make sure you have a plan to defend your home base once the enemy spawns.
Avoid Hero Downtime When Treasure Hunting
If you go treasure hunting with a hero and press the dig for treasure button, whether you succeed or fail that will end that hero’s movement for that turn. And here is the thing that will make most people hate treasure hunting; let’s say you fail the dig because your hero was not quite in the right spot but you realize where the hero is supposed to dig so no worries you will get it on the next turn. On the next turn when you move your hero, you won’t be able to dig because the dig for treasure button will be greyed out; so if you fail at a dig it will cost you 3 turns of that hero’s time. FRUSTRATING! However, here is the tip that will make your heart leap for joy: Once your hero has digged for treasure, that same turn order your hero to move somewhere. Your hero will not move and you should see the red line indicating your hero is out of movement, BUT, it will RESET the Dig for Treasure Button, so on the very next turn if you should want to dig for treasure again, you will be able to! You’re welcome.
Offices require an Admiral to have at least 5 Loyalty to fill them besides the Level requirement, BUT, this loyalty requirement only applies if the Admiral is active on the campaign map; if you disband the Admiral to your Lord Pool then the Admiral can be placed in the office even they have 4 or less Loyalty.
The 4 Legendary Admiral from Technology (top right) are Immortal and Perfectly Loyal (and have shipbuilding like your Legendary Lord). Regular Admirals will spawn with a random amount of Loyalty, you can see the range before you recruit them. The Middle Post-Battle Victory option reward Loyalty at the cost of 50 Infamy. If you do not want to spend Infamy increasing loyalty, regular Admirals also have traits that reward increased Loyalty if a specific action is done. The Admiral Trait “Plunderer” is the best Trait because Raiding and Sacking are easy actions to fulfill the requirment. Second best would be “Murderer” because defeating an enemy lord is another common action you can do.
Removing troops, items or followers from an Admiral has a chance to decrease their loyalty. However, there is a Rite that not only gives a 50% chance to increase Loyalty each turn, but it will prevent a decrease in loyalty. So if you need to remove troops or items and/or disband an Admiral, use that Rite and let the Rite work for 4-5 turns to get the Admiral’s Loyalty as high as possible, then while the Rite is still active do what you gotta do.
Establishing Pirate Coves
Vampire Captain heroes can “Establish Pirate Coves” in a settlment for a hefty sum of gold, However, once one (1) of your Captain heroes performs this action against a settlement, a 15 turn timer starts that increases the cost of establishing a pirate cove for ALL of your Captains, and THAT captain cannot establish another cove for 15 turns. Now, according to Reddit posters you can use other Captains to establish coves if you can endure the increased cost, for example you could recruit a Captain hero from your Legendary Lord and have the Captain establish the cove and then disband that Captain and recruit another Captain for the next settlement. I didn’t try it in my campaign, but you can definitely give it a shot and report here.
When you conquer a COASTAL settlement (one that has a port) with an army, you have the option to Establish Pirate Cove for half the money you would have received from sacking the settlement. BUT, you can sack the settlement first, and then Establish Pirate Cove that same turn, which is almost always the better option. Sack, then Establish Pirate Cove, then move on.
Important Tip – Recruit Heroes with the “Lore Keeper” Trait, gives +10% research rate and -10% construction cost which stacks.
Important Note – If you want to complete a campaign quickly by reaching 24,000 Infamy ASAP, play as Noctilus, follow the below steps to Step 3 because you want Level 10 Admirals that you can disband to fill Offices and you want Immunity to Ocean Attrition, but then don’t research either the Legendary Admirals or + 5 Hero Rank, instead research the tech that gives Physical Resistance to Necrofex Colossus, and go from there.
1) Bottom right tech tree, research the opening 3 turn tech then research the tech that gives the “Ships Carpenter” follower who reduces shipbuilding costs by 50%. 10,000 gold shipbuildings will only cost you 5,000, this will save you boatloads of gold, particularly if you are going for a long campaign where you recruit all 4 of the Legendary Admirals each with their own ship.
2) Top left tech tree, research the 3 turn tech, then research the +5 Lord Rank tech. Once you have this, Lords will be recruited at Level 6, which means you can fill the Offices that require Rank 5 Admirals. If you thought and acted ahead and established 4 pirate coves and built the +1 Lord Rank Cove in all 4, you will be able to recruit Rank 10 Admirals, thereby allowing you to fill any of the Offices.
Note – Offices require 5 Loyalty to fill. However, this only applies if the Admiral is active on the map. If you recruit a Level 10 Admiral who has 4 loyalty and then disband them, you can still fill the Offices with that Admiral.
3) Research the tech that gives you immunity to Storm & Reef Attrition and which allows you to research the Legendary Admirals (the 4 skills at the top right). The Legendary Admirals are already Immortal and perfectly Loyal and they have shipbuilding just like your Legendary Lord. They do cost 2000 infamy each to recruit however, so take that into consideration.
4) Research the +5 Hero Rank tech.
5) Research as you will from here depending on what strategy you are pursuing. You want to get the 10% Physical Resistance for Necrofex Colossus for when you go Necrofex Doomstack should you choose to.
You do not have to do any Treasure Hunting at all if you hate it, you can without digging for treasure even once. What you need to know though is:
I think the maximum you can have a one time is 6, so if there is a treasure hunt in a part of the map you have no intention of sending any heroes or armies to ever, you can safely abandon that treasure hunt.
The message alerting you will tell you what the potential reward is, whether it is a meagre or great reward, and you can cancel ones you don’t find worth it.
The meagre treasure hunts reward 1,000 gold. I’ve seen 2,500. The great rewards can reward 5000 gold AND 150 Infamy.
So, the treasure hunts are totally unnecessary, but, if you want to rank up your infamy ASAP, and make some coin doing it, you may want to recruit a bunch of heroes and send them to each part of the map to be within a reasonable distance should a treasure hunt spawn in their general area.
How Do I Find The Treasure?
If you look closely at the details of the map, you will start to notice details like skulls in the sides of mountains, large creatures amongst the trees in Lustria (creatures are Fauna, plants are Flora), red-colored oasis in the desert to the SE of Khemri. Whenever you get a treasure hunt, click the magnifying glass so that it zooms to the area and then start looking for something that matches the riddle.
If you get “between two peaks…” in Lustria, you need to move a hero between two volcanoes in the west mountains of Lustria.
There is a hunt right above this location where you have to position your hero on the east side of the volcano right up next to where a crack in the volcano reveals a pool of lava.
If you get the “it has no mouth or lips but its mouth will never close” look for where the river exists into the ocean and dig there.
If you get “red oasis within sight of Khemri” there is a red oasis to the SE of Khemri
If you get “eyes that peer emptily” and the location is in the mountains of The Southlands near Kroq-Gar’s start (where Arachnos greenskins start), there are actually 2 skulls in that mountain and each have a treasure hunt with different text.
If you get a “fauna” text then look for a creature amongst the trees.
If you get a “markings on the ground” text then look for a clearing with a white symbol etched into the ground.
If the text says “Isha’s Tears” look for a waterfall or a pool of water.
Basically attention to what the riddle says and what is on the map when the magnifying glass zooms you to the location, and don’t be afraid to rotate your camera for a better view, then get your hero as close as you can to what you believe to be the spot and dig.